100 books like The Art of Possibility

By Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander,

Here are 100 books that The Art of Possibility fans have personally recommended if you like The Art of Possibility. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

Brian J. McVeigh Author Of The 'Other' Psychology of Julian Jaynes: Ancient Languages, Sacred Visions, and Forgotten Mentalities

From my list on the bicameral mind, mentality, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by how the human mind adapts, both individually and through history. Julian Jaynes, who taught me while pursuing my PhD in anthropology from Princeton University, provided me with a theoretical framework to explore how the personal and cultural configure each other. Jaynes inspired me to publish on psychotherapeutics, the history of Japanese psychology, linguistics, education, nationalism, the origin of religion, the Bible, ancient Egypt, popular culture, and changing definitions of self, time, and space. My interests have taken me to China and Japan, where I lived for many years. I taught at the University of Arizona and currently work as a licensed mental health counselor. 

Brian's book list on the bicameral mind, mentality, and consciousness

Brian J. McVeigh Why did Brian love this book?

Supported by a wide range of examples drawn from various disciplines, this book demonstrates how we are only conscious of a small amount of what our hidden psychological machinery manufactures nonconsciously.

This work provides a key perspective needed to appreciate Julian Jaynes’s theory of consciousness and, thus his ideas on bicameral mentality. 

By Tor Norretranders,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The User Illusion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As John Casti wrote, "Finally, a book that really does explain consciousness." This groundbreaking work by Denmark's leading science writer draws on psychology, evolutionary biology, information theory, and other disciplines to argue its revolutionary point: that consciousness represents only an infinitesimal fraction of our ability to process information. Although we are unaware of it, our brains sift through and discard billions of pieces of data in order to allow us to understand the world around us. In fact, most of what we call thought is actually the unconscious discarding of information. What our consciousness rejects constitutes the most valuable part…

Book cover of The Last Word on Power

Kimberly Wiefling Author Of Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces

From my list on achieve what seems impossible.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1995 I was challenged to declare my purpose in life. In the absence of any evidence that it was possible, and without knowing HOW to do it, I declared the possibility that I would transform Planet Earth by creating community everywhere. As ridiculous as it sounded at the time, the amazing breakthroughs that I’ve encountered on my journey since then have been even more incredible. After decades of experience helping myself and others achieve what initially seemed “impossible” possible, I’m delighted to be able to help myself and support others in making progress on pretty much any “impossible” project aside from changing the gravitational constant of the Universe. (I’m a physicist, so I’m going to leave that to greater minds than mine!) Looking forward to hearing what seems impossible for you, but if it WERE possible, would transform your life for the better!

Kimberly's book list on achieve what seems impossible

Kimberly Wiefling Why did Kimberly love this book?

All my life I felt like someone was holding me back. Being introduced to the concepts in this book helped me understand that that person was . . . ME! I made this realization years before reading this book when I attended a workshop that was based solidly on the principles that Tracy Goss wrote about. The Last Word on Power boils down the paradigms and strategies that keep us human beings stuck, and reveals a path to a more powerful way of being where we recognize the difference between our interpretation and reality, as well as our own contributions to the interpretations that keep us stuck in old ways of thinking and being. The core of this is using language to create, rather than merely describe, reality, declaring and committing to possibilities that we currently have no idea HOW to achieve, and playing a bigger game in life that…

By Tracy Goss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Word on Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Goss suggests that the main key to re-inventing an organization is to re-invent its leaders. Through a series of seven transformations in the area of leadership, Goss shows how re-invention relies upon freeing oneself from the past.

Book cover of Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life

Arielle Ford Author Of The Love Thief

From my list on growing your soul and opening your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved fairytales, whimsical stories, and mysteries. Plus, I’m passionate about mind-expanding, heart-opening books that offer me new ways to understand myself and the Universe we live in. And I particularly like books that show me ways to have more of what brings me joy and pleasure. When I can get all of this in a novel I’m in heaven.

Arielle's book list on growing your soul and opening your heart

Arielle Ford Why did Arielle love this book?

On September 12, 1984 I relocated from South Florida to Los Angeles where I had just one friend who was preparing to move to NYC in 10 days. With a very small budget and no job, I was terrified about how things would turn out. 

Fortunately, on the long plane ride I read Creative Visualization in which I discovered the secrets to manifesting! Thanks to the lessons in this book, within two weeks I launched myself into a new home, a new career, and found a new best friend. This book is truly responsible for helping make my dream life come true.

By Shakti Gawain,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Creative Visualization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As introduced by Shakti Gawain to more than seven million readers worldwide, creative visualization is the art of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive changes in your life. Gawain’s clear writing style and vivid examples make Creative Visualization easy to read and apply to your personal needs and wants. This groundbreaking work has found enthusiastic followers in every country and language in which it has been published, and Gawain’s simple yet powerful techniques are now used successfully in many diverse fields, including health, education, business, sports, and the creative arts. Whether you read it for general inspiration and…

Book cover of Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want

Chris Guillebeau Author Of Gonzo Capitalism: How to Make Money in an Economy That Hates You

From my list on thinking differently and live unconventionally.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a curious writer and compulsive traveler. My lifelong goal is to communicate the message “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect.” From 2002-2015 I went to every country in the world, chronicling the journey on my blog The Art of Non-Conformity. At first I thought the blog would be just about travel, but along the way I began meeting lots of people interested in living unconventionally. Ever since, I've been writing books, hosting events, and avoiding traditional employment by any means necessary. 

Chris' book list on thinking differently and live unconventionally

Chris Guillebeau Why did Chris love this book?

It's no exaggeration to say this book changed my life. I read it when I was briefly home in the US during a four-year stint as an aid worker in West Africa. It caused me to think deeply about the next stage of life, which involved going to every country and eventually starting a blog that became a whole new career.

If you've read any other "life design" books in the past two decades, one way or another the authors were influenced by Barbara Sher. Go back to where it started!

By Annie Gottlieb, Barbara Sher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wishcraft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cindy Fox was a waitress. Now she’s a pilot. Peter Johnson was a truck driver. Now he’s a dairy farmer. Tina Forbes was a struggling artist. Now she’s a successful one. Alan Rizzo was an editor. Now he’s a bookstore owner.

What they have in common—and what you can share—are Barbara Sher’s effective strategies for making real changes in your life. This human, practical program puts your vague yearnings and dreams to work for you—with concrete results. You’ll learn how to

• Discover your strengths and skills
• Turn your fears and negative feelings into positive tools
• Diagram the…

Book cover of Shame, Pride, and Relational Trauma: Concepts and Psychotherapy

Antonieta Contreras Author Of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

From my list on uncovering the human experience and exploring the depths of trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a trauma therapist and dedicated researcher, I love uncovering valuable insights within lesser-known books. There are hidden gems, free from the pressure of commercial success, crafted by authors deeply committed to research, understanding, and the art of writing itself. Their dedication resonates with me, as I believe in the profound value of information and the power of critical thinking. Through my own book, Traumatization and Its Aftermath, I aim to emphasize that psychological concepts often lose their depth in translation and my mission is spreading awareness and fostering a deeper understanding of trauma and its intricate facets. With that idea in mind, I chose these five titles. 

Antonieta's book list on uncovering the human experience and exploring the depths of trauma

Antonieta Contreras Why did Antonieta love this book?

Shame is often more traumatizing than we realize, and there hasn't been enough exploration of its connection to prolonging the impact of initial traumatic events. In my first book, I dedicated an entire section to shame, and it was this work that significantly aided in delving deeper into its various forms and consequences.

This book's ability to distinguish between shame and guilt is particularly enlightening. While it may not be the most enjoyable read, it was undoubtedly a valuable reference for me when I needed to develop a better understanding of this crucial aspect of trauma.

By Ken Benau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shame, Pride, and Relational Trauma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Includes inter-relational, intra-relational, emotion focused and somatic approaches to this work.

Includes session transcripts that discuss both what's happening within the patient psychologically and neurobiologically, and between patient and therapist

Provides guiding principles, concepts, and attitudes when working with shame and pride in relational trauma, regardless of theoretical orientation of reader.

Book cover of Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective

Alvin Raja Hornstein Author Of Working With the Dying: Compassion, Shame, and the Illusion of Loss

From my list on how psychotherapy and meditation work together.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a meditator for fifty years, learning from many teachers. I've been a psychotherapist for twenty years. The connections between meditation and psychotherapy are subtle and powerful. When I started my psychology studies, I went to my Zen teacher and asked for his guidance. I knew I couldn't survive the academic path without more depth in my meditation practice. There were two professors who captured my attention: one, the most psychoanalytic teacher at my school, and one, a student of the same Zen master who taught Leonard Cohen. They guided my research. If you're a psychotherapist, are in psychotherapy yourself, or are a meditator, you will love these books.

Alvin's book list on how psychotherapy and meditation work together

Alvin Raja Hornstein Why did Alvin love this book?

I had to choose one of Mark Epstein's many books on this topic. I remember sitting on a meditation cushion and listening to him address a large group of meditators and psychotherapists. In this book he addresses Freud's view of meditation as a regressive quest for the "oceanic feeling" of the infant, but he also points out how Freud suggested an almost Zen-like method for how the psychoanalyst should pay attention to the patient. As a photographer, I was eager to read his discussion about art, meditation and the unconscious. Like all of Epstein's books, this is deeply examined and beautifully written.

By Mark Epstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Psychotherapy Without the Self as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Insights on the interface between Buddhist teachings and Western psychotherapy by the best-selling author of Thoughts without a Thinker

Immersed in Buddhist psychology prior to studying Western psychiatry, Dr. Mark Epstein first viewed Western therapeutic approaches through the lens of the East. This posed something of a challenge. Although both systems promise liberation through self-awareness, the central tenet of Buddha's wisdom is the notion of no-self, while the central focus of Western psychotherapy is the self. This book, which includes writings from the past twenty-five years, wrestles with the complex relationship between Buddhism and psychotherapy and offers nuanced reflections on…

Book cover of Beyond Fear

Stephen Palmer Author Of Beautiful Intelligence

From my list on that explain the mystery of consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

For thirty-five years I’ve studied and written about consciousness, the evolution of the mind, and the development of human social and cultural forms. I think we’re all fascinated by who we are and why we have minds. In my case, that fundamental question, which we must all answer in some way during our lives, has become a drive to bridge our theory of consciousness with a full description of the human condition. I believe we cannot progress ethically without such a bridge. Although in my novels I don’t usually write explicitly on such themes, they’re always present, providing the framework in which my characters live their lives.

Stephen's book list on that explain the mystery of consciousness

Stephen Palmer Why did Stephen love this book?

Dorothy Rowe’s books I discovered by accident in a Winchester second-hand bookshop, placed in the psychology section. A woman of considerable wisdom gained through her psychotherapy practice and her experience of the vicissitudes of life, Beyond Fear deals with something we all have to encounter, yet which so few of us properly understand and therefore disempower. Rowe explains in this life-changing book how fear manifests through various conditions, such as depression, a subject on which she is an acknowledged expert. I love it that she refused to simplify life, confronting it in all its difficult complexities. Life isn’t easy—we all discover that.

By Dorothy Rowe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond Fear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dorothy Rowe shows us how to have the courage to acknowledge and face our fears - only through courage can we find a sustaining happiness.

'Beyond Fear', first published in 1987, has changed the lives of thousands of people. In this edition, the renowned psychologist Dorothy Rowe examines the changes in the psychiatric system since 1987 in the context of showing how most of our suffering comes from our greatest fear, that of being annihilated as a person, when we shall disappear like a puff of smoke in the wind, never to have existed.

We feel this fear whenever others…

Book cover of Internal Family Systems Therapy

Hilary Jacobs Hendel Author Of It's Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self

From my list on emotional health and wellbeing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychoanalyst, AEDP psychotherapist, emotions educator, author, speaker, and blogger. My passion is sharing what I learned in my psychotherapy training with people interested in improving their emotional health. I became increasingly outraged that everyone did not have access to this crucial information on emotions so I started writing and teaching. After almost 20 years of teaching and using the Change Triangle, I have found it to be the most practical tool to increase emotional health and to reduce and heal anxiety and depression at its roots for lasting change. It is a true game-changer for well-being.

Hilary's book list on emotional health and wellbeing

Hilary Jacobs Hendel Why did Hilary love this book?

Internal Family Systems Therapy by Richard Schwartz taught me a new way to think about the mind and complemented perfectly what I learned in The Transforming Power of Affect. So much of what causes human suffering has to do with conscious and unconscious conflicts. When we learn that our minds consist of various “parts” that can hold differing realities, memories, emotions, sensations, and more, it is so helpful for self-understanding and self-compassion. For me, I stopped trying to reconcile irreconciled aspects of myself and instead set out to learn about the different parts of myself. This further helped me integrate myself for greater well-being.

By Richard C. Schwartz, Martha Sweezy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Internal Family Systems Therapy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now significantly revised with over 70% new material, this is the authoritative presentation of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy, which is taught and practiced around the world. IFS reveals how the subpersonalities or "parts" of each individual's psyche relate to each other like members of a family, and how--just as in a family--polarization among parts can lead to emotional suffering. IFS originator Richard Schwartz and master clinician Martha Sweezy explain core concepts and provide practical guidelines for implementing IFS with clients who are struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, and other behavioral problems. They also address strategies for…

Book cover of The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients

Will Meyerhofer Author Of Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

From my list on Irvin Yalom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a psychotherapist, with a private practice, and the author of several books. Like me, Yalom is a psychotherapist as well as an author, and the best of his writing takes place in that heightened zone where emotions seem to crackle because two people are sustaining an authentic contact, actually being “there” with one another – like the very best, life-changing moments in psychotherapy. I dreamt last night about Irvin Yalom. So yeah, Yalom can get into your head, in a good way.

Will's book list on Irvin Yalom

Will Meyerhofer Why did Will love this book?

Probably the best place to start with Yalom, this book is a must-read for therapists, and I recommend it regularly to anyone getting started in the business, or even contemplating pursuing a career in psychotherapy. The hardest guide to write about psychotherapy is the book about “technique” - not the highfalutin theory laced with opaque language book, but the hands-on, “this is what you say when someone says this” or “here's what you can do when you run into someone in this sort of situation” book.  This is that book, and only Yalom, with his immense experience and humility, could pull off this slender guide, packed with the wisdom of decades of working, alone, in a room with another human being in pain.  I return to this book regularly and always find something new and useful in his words.

By Irvin D. Yalom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gift of Therapy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Gift of Therapy is the new book from the bestselling author of Love's Executioner. The culmination of master psychiatrist Dr Irvin Yalom's forty-five years' work as a therapist, this book illustrates through real case studies how patients and therapists alike can get the most out of therapy. Presented as eighty-five 'tips' for 'beginner therapists', Yalom shares his own fresh approach and the insights he has gained while treating his patients. Personal, and sometimes provocative, Yalom includes some unorthodox suggestions: - Let the patient matter to you - Acknowledge your errors - Create a new therapy for each patient -…

Book cover of A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens: Daily Motivation to Beat Stress, Inspire Happiness, and Achieve Your Goals

Joanne Foster Author Of Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate

From my list on procrastination, motivation, and kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about supporting and encouraging children’s and teens’ intelligence, creativity, productivity, and well-being. I’m an educational consultant with over 35 years of experience working with parents, teachers, and students within diverse communities, and I’m the award-winning author of seven books. I focus a lot on gifted education and procrastination. Within my books, articles, and presentations, there are tons of strategies and resources to help motivate kids—and empower their learning. My books include Being Smart about Gifted Learning and Beyond Intelligence (both co-authored with Dona Matthews), ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids, Bust Your BUTS, and Not Now, Maybe Later.

Joanne's book list on procrastination, motivation, and kids

Joanne Foster Why did Joanne love this book?

Katie Hurley is a highly respected child and adolescent psychotherapist who really knows how kids think and feel. She wrote this book during the pandemic, and she offers reassurance and lots of practical motivational strategies to empower kids when they feel stressed, overwhelmed, or stuck. The book is beautifully organized—day by day over the course of a full year—and it includes many resources as well. A Year of Positive Thinking is a book that kids can refer to often, including whenever they need a boost to increase their confidence, embrace uncertainty, confront change, or maximize their potential.

By Katie Hurley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Transform your thoughts and find the confidence to navigate your teen years with positive thinking

Being a teen can be an emotional roller coaster. When you’re overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations from your friends, family, social media feed, teachers, and even yourself, it’s normal to have thoughts and feelings like This is too hard or I'll never measure up. With A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens, you'll discover how to overcome these anxious thought patterns, and build a happier, more positive mindset to achieve your goals.

Let go of stress with relatable prompts and reflections―all grounded in positive thinking and…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Psychotherapy, Boston, and parables?

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